Showing Tag: "faith" (Show all posts)

Faith and brick walls

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, September 1, 2013, In : Faith 
Sometimes it may seem as if life's events have run us into a brick wall. We stop, wondering how to proceed from here. How do we get over, under, around, or even through this particular brick wall? We rap hard on the wall. Feels solid. Our knuckles are bruised. This is not going to be easy. But we muster up enough faith and grit daily to try and then try again.

Randy Pausch, in The Last Lecture, says, "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The bri...
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When our faith is tried

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, May 26, 2013, In : A life of faith 
Most of us will have our faith tried at some point. Stuff happens. And it isn't always positive. Or perhaps it looks easier not to live a life of faith. Faith requires time, action, and commitment. It's also true that the flame of faith is fanned by righteous living. And perhaps we're not living that way. Or maybe doubt creeps in and wraps itself around our faith, chocking the life out of our beliefs. Having faith is not for the faint of heart.

And yet, it is faith that gives us comfort; fait...
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Healing Through Trust

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, May 5, 2013, In : Healing 
For most of us, trusting God means relying on someone we can neither see nor touch, only feel. This act of trust in the divine may sometimes seem a bit frightening, because it requires a leap of faith. Similar in some ways to the movie "Star Wars," when Yoda instructs Luke to  trust the force, rather than relying on his own limited perceptions, we as believers also place our trust in something beyond ourselves. We depend on God to know and love us, and that gives us hope.

We cannot ask God to...
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Standing Strong

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, April 21, 2013, In : Adversity and faith 
In the wake of a week of terror in the city of Boston comes the defiant cry, "We are Boston Strong." The Los Angles Times ran the headline, "Boston Strong: A proud city shines through its pain."   Certainly the Boston Marathon bombing was a horrible tragedy that touched each of our hearts. All of America mourns with the victims, as we struggle to understand the senseless nature of acts of terror. 

And yet in the rubble grow the flowers of strength and faith.  We grieve, we mourn, and then we g...
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Finding Our Way

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Faith 
In the children's classic Alice in Wonderland, Alice happens upon the Cheshire Cat. Thinking he might be of help to her, she asks: "I was just wondering if you could help me find my way?  Cat: "That depends on where you want to go."  Alice: "Oh, it doesn't really matter, as long as..."  Cat: "Then it doesn't really matter which way you go." 

Drawing a parallel, if we don't care about where either we or our families wind up spiritually, then, like Alice, it might not really matter which way we ...
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Optimism and Faith

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, March 3, 2013, In : Optimism and Faith 

While they are related, there is a difference between optimism and faith. People who are optimistic tend to expect the best. And they often get it. But optimism does not necessarily produce faith, in the classic sense of "The Word."

People who have faith find an assurance in things not seen. Their faith goes beyond the notion of optimism or expectation. ---Although faith, when it's exercised, usually produces optimism. This happens as we learn to rely on and trust in God's love for us. This do...


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A matter of Faith

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, In : Faith 
Faith is hope; it's belief; it's a confidence in things not seen. Faith can provide a foundation for living life with meaning. 

As obvious as it sounds, faith is faith. It's not reason. We may read reasoned arguments about matters of faith or religion, both for or against. In the end, we each choose whether or not to believe.

Where we search for answers to questions of faith, and what we accept as credible sources, is important. At least it's important for honest seekers. Sometimes people make ...
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Faith to Keep Our Commitments

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, January 27, 2013, In : Keeping Commitments 
A friend of mine told me recently that not everyone can make and keep committments. I had to think about that one for awhile. Was she right?  Is making and keeping committments an ability that some have and others simply do not?

I understand that there are some things in life we can't change. No amount of wishing, for example, is likely to increase our height or perhaps even our IQ scores. And we can't control our basic genetic make up, at least for now.  But believing that making and and kee...
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A quiet cry for roots

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Monday, January 14, 2013, In : Roots 
The national debate rages on over ways to avoid tragedies like those that occurred at Sandy Hook elementary school. Some are proposing bans on assault weapons; others want security officers stationed permanently in their schools. There is talk of limiting the use of violent video games; elsewhere a discussion continues regarding the need  for a broader understanding of mental  health issues. All of these measures taken indivdually or severally would help. But the probem may run deeper than th...
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Faith and Good Will

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, December 30, 2012, In : Keeping Faith 
We are closing yet another cherished season of good will toward all.  A time when tight wallets creak open just a little bit wider for the benefit of others ; a time when we make a conscious effort to be more generous, patient, and loving to both friend and foe alike. It seems essential that we have an annual holiday season that allows us to take stock of our lives and think about what's most important. And we find that this experience of stepping outside ourselves creates that warm, tingly f...
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Tender Mercies and Miracles

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Monday, December 10, 2012, In : Tender Mercies 
 

Someone once said that faith precedes the miracle, such that in order to get a miracle, we must believe and earnestly apply our faith.  While I think it’s true that miracles don’t happen without exercising faith, sometimes even very strong faith does not produce a miracle. A child’s life is saved, and his parents thank God for a miracle.  Another child dies, and her parents wonder, “Wasn’t our faith strong enough?”  We don’t always get our miracle, and somehow it doesn’t se...


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Gratitude and Faith

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, November 25, 2012, In : Gratitude 

Many of us just celebrated Thanksgiving; certainly one of the most beloved American holidays of the year. A time to be thankful and grateful for what we have, if ever there was one.

Thanksgiving is, in fact, an event, along with Christmas, that some might call: "The picture perfect holiday." -At least that's the way Norman Rockwell painted it. But families, while often wonderful, are usually far from perfect. Kids argue, babies cry, parents get tired from all the preparation, tempers sometimes...


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Faith that Endures

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, November 18, 2012, In : Faith that Endures 

We tend to gravitate naturally toward a state of equilibrium and comfort, because it feels good. –And most of us like feeling good. But without a certain amount of stress, even our bones don’t grow. While we seem to understand facts like this about our bones, it’s much more difficult to accept the premise that we also need to be challenged and stretched both emotionally and spiritually in order to grow.

In a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal, Nassim Nicholas Taleb mak...


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Faith to Move Our Nation Forward

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, November 11, 2012, In : Faith to Move Our Nation Forward 
We are part of the greatest democracy the world has ever seen. We are admired throughout the world for our orderly transition of power. When the voters speak, the candidates listen. The victor will now lead our country for the next four years. The vanquished has exited the stage gracefully. That's the way it works here.

Having said that, I hope we'll be able to say the same for both candidate's supporters, some of whom have been whipped into such a state of frenzy that they're threatening to "...

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The Value of Commitment

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, November 4, 2012, In : Commitment 
The value of making and keeping commitments to spouses, children, extended family members, and communities of faith seems to be waning, at least in much of our Western culture. Have we become so self focused that the only thing that matters is our own well being? Do we take our own termperature daily and ask ourselves if we're happy? And if we decide we're not, do we casually shed marriages, siblings, friends, neighborhoods, churches, or anything else we see as holding us back from being pers...
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A Community of Faith

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, October 28, 2012, In : Communities of Faith 

The author Robert D Putnam comments in the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000), that social capital has been falling in the United States. Putnam found that over the past 25 years, attendance at club meetings has fallen 58 percent, family dinners are down 33 percent, and having friends visit has fallen 45 percent.

According to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, there was also a decline in membership in most of the mainline religious denom...


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Can God Trust Us?

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Monday, October 22, 2012, In : Faith 

If we think of trust as a bridge that runs between two relationships, it might be interesting to ask ourselves the question: Can God trust us? Rather than the question that we seem to ask more often: Can we trust God? If we look at our relationship with God in that light, what do we do to earn God’s trust? 

Consider three characteristics that we value highly in any close, trusting relationship: communication, integrity, and reliability. Let’s take communication first. God wants us to co...


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Brighter Days Ahead

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, October 14, 2012, In : Faith 

As we age, we begin to understand that no matter how wonderful someone else’s life might appear from the outside looking in; no one’s life is perfect. Nor was it meant to be. This life, instead, is a time for us to learn and grow, to repent when needed, and to improve. But emotional and spiritual growing pains can be every bit as challenging as physical ones. When we’re in the thick of tough times, it’s hard to see how life might look when we finally come out the other side. It’s no...


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Keeping Faith

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, September 23, 2012, In : Keeping Faith 

The author Stephen Covey coined the term “emotional bank account,” which means essentially that we make positive deposits in the emotional bank accounts of those we love that will be there for us to draw on when our relationships hit rough patches, as they all do. The same thing may be said of faith. If we keep our faith when times are good, our faith will be there to keep us when they’re not. Keeping faith helps us remain grateful and optimistic, facilitates the acceptance of trials an...


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Can Faith Keep Us Safe?

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, August 19, 2012, In : Faith 
I was listening again to one of my favorite songs, "The Prayer."  Jessica Sanchez of American Idol fame beautifully sings this particular version of the song. I wondered about the words, "Give us faith, so we'll be safe."  What do those words mean exactly? Certainly having faith is no guarantee that life will always work out as we wish it would. Bad things will continue to happen to good people. So, then, how does having faith keep us safe?  It is faith that propels us forward regardless of t...
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Religious Reverts: Coming Home

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, August 12, 2012,
This past week I learned of a new book that also details an author's return to full LDS church activity. The title of the book is: Rescued: A Prodigal's Journey Home, written by long-time Deseret News Columnist Jerry Earl Johnston. Similar in theme to my own book: Coming Home: A Mormon's Return to Faith, Johnston movingly tells the story of how he once was lost and then was found.  While I compare my own religious awakening to literary character Rip Van Winkle, Jerry compares his experience t...
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His grace is sufficient

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, August 5, 2012, In : Grace 

Christ related the now familiar parable of the day laborers to his followers.The essence of the parable is that it doesn't matter the hour when we choose to begin our labors in the vineyard.The point is that we choose to labor at all. While it is paradoxically much easier to begin our course, run a steady race, and complete the journey on schedule, we can join the runners at any time.The important thing is not how fast we run or how soon we start, but that we at last cross the finish line. If...


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Choose to Act

Posted by Susan N. Swann on Sunday, July 15, 2012, In : Faith 
It's often so easy to find ways to blame our circumstances on the actions of others. But God did not intend us to be helpless creatures. He did not create us to be as plants who must sit idly by waiting for someone else to feed us, water us, or even talk with us.  We are free to act or to be be acted upon.  2 Nephi 2:14 reads: ..."For there is a God,and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon." 

Let ...
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Choose Faith


Susan N. Swann I left my faith behind for 15 years,.During that time, I believed only in reason and lost all faith. Three years ago, my perspective shifted, and I reverted to my faith. I began once again to believe not in the ultimate randomness of life's events, but to believe instead that belief in God gives our lives purpose. I chose faith over doubt. Choosing faith is the focus of this blog.

LDS Women's books groups, click below for other books you might like to read

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